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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2006

John O. Jordan
Affiliation:
University of California, Santa Cruz
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Summary

Dickens is unusual if not unique among canonical English-language authors in remaining at once a vital focus of academic research and a major figure in popular culture. Only Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and perhaps Jane Austen can compare with him in terms of their ability to hold the attention of both a scholarly and a general audience. The range of Dickens’s appeal throughout the English-speaking world can be measured not only by his regular presence on school reading lists and in university courses, but by the frequency with which his novels continue to be adapted for the stage, for television, and for feature-length films. In Britain, where his image has appeared on postage stamps and on the ten-pound note, Dickens has become a staple of the national culture, a commodity available for export as well as for internal circulation. In North America, where hardly a day goes by without some Dickens reference appearing in the local or national press, A Christmas Carol has attained virtually the status of myth and elicits parodies, piracies, and annual theatrical performances with increasing frequency. Extending Paul Davis’s apt phrase about the Carol, one might say that Dickens has become a “culture-text” for the world at large.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2001

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  • Preface
  • Edited by John O. Jordan, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Charles Dickens
  • Online publication: 28 May 2006
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521660165.001
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  • Preface
  • Edited by John O. Jordan, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Charles Dickens
  • Online publication: 28 May 2006
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521660165.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
  • Edited by John O. Jordan, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Charles Dickens
  • Online publication: 28 May 2006
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521660165.001
Available formats
×